Burnham issues ultimatum to Starmer as Labour leader given just two weeks to outline plan

Anneliese Dodds grilled over Labour's National Insurance plans

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The Manchester Mayor said there was an “opportunity” for his party leader to offer a better policy than the one set out by the Prime Minister. His intervention will heap pressure onto Sir Keir, who has failed to put forward Labour’s plan to tackle the social care crisis.

Mr Burnham has a loyal following within the party, with a poll earlier this year showing the majority of members believed he would do a better job as leader than Sir Keir.

The former minister, who has run for the leadership twice, has admitted he still has dreams of one day taking on the top job.

Criticising Mr Johnson’s plan to fix social care, he gave a deadline for Labour to release a vision of its own.

He told Sky News: “I don’t think the Labour party can come up instantly with its alternative to what the Government announced yesterday, it needs to digest what the Government has said, but I would like to see them do it soon – perhaps at conference.”

He added: “We have a government plan here, I think they’ve gone down the wrong path because they’ve loaded the whole cost of social care on the shoulders of younger people, lower-paid people, people who have student debt, people struggling to get on the housing ladder, I don’t think that’s fair.

“There’s an opportunity here for Labour to set out a much better alternative and I would say to them I think they should do that sooner rather than later, but the conference would be a good time to do that.”

Between September 25 and September 29 Labour MPs and supporters will gather in Brighton for their annual conference.

It will be the first time Sir Keir has had the opportunity to address his members in person since becoming leader.

The UK had already been plunged into lockdown last year when the Holborn and St Pancras MP took over from Jeremy Corbyn.

With his popularity dwindling in opinion polls, the Labour Party conference is seen as a crucial moment for Sir Keir to reboot his leadership.

Labour voted against the Government’s social care plans in a Commons vote yesterday.

Under Mr Johnson’s plans, there will be a 1.25 percentage-point increase in national insurance contributions for all those earning more than £9,000 a year.

The Government will fully cover the cost of care for those with assets under £20,000, and contribute to the cost of care for those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000.

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While Sir Keir attacked the plans, some Labour MPs have been left frustrated at the party’s failure to put forward their own plan.

He has so far only said that those with the “broadest shoulders” should pay more to fix the system.

The leader’s office has refused to outline when Sir Keir’s plan for social care will be unveiled.

Mr Burnham served as Health Secretary in Gordon Brown’s cabinet between 2009 and 2010.

He set out his own proposals for dealing with social care at the time.

Speaking today he admitted he was still angry the party had failed to take forward his suggestions.

“It frustrates me that Labour didn’t back my plan years ago, I’ll be honest about that, that did frustrate me at the time,” he said.

His plans would have seen a levy imposed on Britons’ estates after they died.

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